It was announced this morning by the state broadcaster that the husband of former Prime Minster Dame Jacinda Ardern is stepping away from the popular TV show because of “other commitments”.
Gayford has hosted two seasons of the popular show, which follows Kiwi families, couples and individuals as they transport their dream homes to their ideal locations.
Past episodes have seen Kiwi couple Brett and Hollis move a 100-year-old church from Waikaka to Arrowtown, Jacob and Teresa relocating a villa from Auckland to Martinborough and many more nail-biting moves.
In a statement issued to The New Zealand Herald, Gayford, a father-of-one said while he enjoyed the journey, he’s most disappointed about saying goodbye to the show because that also means farewelling the “absolute best” Kiwis he met along the way.
“Moving Houses was such a great show to be part of. I really enjoyed the journey. Who doesn’t love massive trucks, outsized machinery, matched at times with almost impassable roads?
"But what I’m most disappointed about in not coming back is that you meet just the absolute best New Zealanders who take on these big dream projects. It’s recycling on a grand scale.”
Ellis - an award-winning landscape designer - said he is “stoked” to be joining the team and is looking forward to another “wild ride”.
“I’ve really enjoyed watching the series and have marvelled at the skill and technical know-how of the drivers negotiating some of NZ’s most treacherous roads, while admiring the ambition and aspirations of the Kiwi homeowners embarking on these epic moves to create their dream homes,” he said.
“It’s going to be another wild ride, and I can’t wait.”
Gayford said the show is in “great hands”.
“I won’t be on this season because of other commitments, but it’s now in great hands with Andy, and no doubt he will stay awake through the night a lot better than I managed,” Gayford said.
Ellis first gained popularity in New Zealand during his All Blacks career, in which he played 28 test games and was part of the 2011 team that won the Rugby World Cup.
The third season of Moving Houses is in production and will return to TVNZ1 and TVNZ+ later in the year.
The previous two seasons are available to stream on TVNZ+ now.